"The Retirement Solution Hiding in Plain Sight: How Much Retirees Would Gain by Improving Social Security Decisions,"
Retirees will collectively lose $3.4 trillion in potential income that they could spend during their retirement because they claimed Social Security at a financially sub-optimal time, or an average of $111,000 per household. The average Social Security recipient would receive 9 percent more income in retirement if they made the financially optimal decision about when to claim this retirement benefit.
Current retirees will collectively lose an estimated $2.1 trillion in wealth because they made the sub-optimal decision about when to claim Social Security, or an average of $68,000 per household. Most retirees will lose wealth in their 60s and early 70s if they choose to optimize Social Security, but will be wealthier in their late 70s through the rest of their lives.
Only 4 percent of retirees make the financially optimal decision about when to claim Social Security. About 57 percent of retirees would build more wealth through their life if they waited to claim until they were 70 years old (when only 4 percent of retirees currently claim), while only 6.5 percent of retirees would have more wealth if they claimed prior to turning 64 (when over 70 percent of retirees currently claim benefits)